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'Stand Up Friends': One Month Mark!

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Posted by jim under Awards

While only one winner comes away with the Evy Nordley Award, every Friend of the Library group in Minnesota can claim a 2018 ‘Standout Friend’ simply by submitting a candidate they feel strongly about.

Stand Up for Standout Friends is, in essence, MALF’s equivalent of an Unsung Hero Award (a popular award of the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits and like-minded charities across the country). In thanks for ‘standout’ contributions to their work, each MALF member organization is invited to put forward the name of one individual for this special yearly honor.

Among other perks, every honoree will receive a certificate of achievement from MALF, plus recognition at this year’s Minnesota Library Association conference. MALF will also send notification letters to the mayor’s and/or county commissioner’s offices of all winners, and add their names and stories to a growing 
“Gallery of Friends” on our website.  

Applying is easy. Fill out and submit
 this form to our office, together with a cover letter addressing why your candidate is a Standout Friend. (Explanation of reasoning and qualifications should run a minimum of 100 words, and 200-300 words is advised.) Submit no later than Friday, July 27.

'The Lisa Libraries' Donating New Childrens Materials

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Posted by jim under Grants

According to the Library and Book Trade Almanac, a staggering 21,878 children's book titles were published or rereleased last year. Unfortunately, if not unsurprisingly, these books are more accessible to some children than to others.

Public and school libraries play an important role in equalizing access, of course – but in poor and underserved areas, a library’s collection budgetwill only stretch so far. If your library serves a high proportion of underprivileged youth, Lisa Libraries wants to help!

The Lisa Libraries is a 501c3 private foundation, started by The Babysitters Club author Ann M. Martin in 1992 to honor the memory of a friend. It provides a selection of new fiction and nonfiction books (K-6) to small libraries and “other small grassroots organizations” – daycare centers, prison visiting areas, homeless shelters, and third party after-school programs.

If your library can make a case for such a gift,
 please apply. Be prepared to supply statistics on the number of children you serve and the socio-economics status of your service area (e.g., eligibility data for Title 1 and Federal School Lunch programs).

MALF Workshop Teaser Video: Focus On Relevancy

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Posted by jim under Workshops, Programming

Friends of the Library groups large and small often suffer from a handful of common problems: dwindling and aging membership, mediocre fundraising success, and perhaps most pernicious of all, mission creep

You should take some amount of solace in the knowledge that these issues are not unique to you. Indeed, they are not unique to Friends. In today’s nonprofit landscape, 501c3’s of all types and stripes experience these same stressors.

Long-time nonprofits coach and consultant Sandy Anderson knows this better than most. “We’re living in a time when charities are expected to do more with less.” Some degree of burnout is inevitable – especially if the core group of people doing your organization’s ‘heavy lifting’ is relatively small.

But assuming that a fresh infusion of donors and volunteers is not forthcoming, where does that leave us? Explains Anderson: “In short, we need to shift the conversion from doing more with less, to doing what’s relevant.”

Naturally, this pivot is easier said than done, but it is most certainly attainable.

With this in mind, MALF cordially invites you and your Friends colleagues to join Sandy Anderson this summer for a hands-on workshop: “Strengthening Your Organization: Create 'Tables' That Fuel Relevancy and Impact.” We’re bringing this free, engaging session to Duluth (August 28), Saint Michael (August 29), and Northfield (August 30). Registration opens Monday, July 9.


In the meantime, we encourage you to view this 3-minute overview video of the upcoming MALF workshop, specially tailored by Anderson for Friends of the Library audiences. It may make you ask: Where do tables and coffee filters enter the equation? Well, you will just have to join us August 28-30 to find out!

Great Stories Club 2018-2019

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Posted by jim under Grants, Programming

Speaking of July 9, that same Monday marks an important deadline. Between now and then, ALA's Public Programs Office invites public libraries to apply for the September 2018 - August 2019 cycle of its NEH-funded Great Stories Club (GSC).

Unfamiliar with the program? Great Stories Club’s raison d'être is to give underserved youth (and particularly those facing significant challenges) the opportunity to read, reflect, and share ideas on topics that resonate with them. The popular program has reached more than 750 libraries – and more than 30,000 young adults – to date.

Grantees host reading and discussion events for curated book titles (usually for a core group of 6-12 young people) that fit with the GSC’s ongoing theme. Books, support materials, and support services will be provided free of charge.

This year, for the first time, the American Library Association has announced not one, but two themes to choose from: Empathy and Heroism. Eleven eligible book titles truly run the gamut, covering everything from intergalactic diplomacy, to irresponsible time travel, to the underappreciated role of the Navajo tribe in World War II. Intrigued by that capsule description? We hope so.
 Click here to read more.